Felix Doubront gave the Boston Red Sox a quality start and the bullpen took care of the rest. Perfectly, in fact.
Doubront worked six innings, allowing one run on three hits, before relievers Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves took over and didn’t allow even a baserunner to lead the Red Sox over the Cleveland Indians 4-1 on Saturday night.
”I did what was expected. Everyone did a good job,” said Doubront, who has won his last two starts. ”I got the plan a couple of days ago. It was what I expected. It worked for me. I was keeping the ball down.”
It was an unusual night all around at Fenway Park, where games have repeatedly topped 3 or more hours this season with the last-place Red Sox on the losing end more often than not. This one lasted just 2 1/2 hours with the Red Sox celebrating their second straight victory – the club’s first winning streak in May.
”It’s one of those things. We need to win and that’s what we did tonight,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. ”Two games in a row.”
The Red Sox had allowed four or more runs in their last 12 games since a 1-0 shutout of the Chicago White Sox, which also happened to be the last time Boston was on a winning streak.
”It was a really nice game,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ”Everyone did their job. I can tell you that Cody Ross’ home run was a little breathing room that I think was really good.”
Ross hit a solo shot in the sixth, just after the Indians had pulled within 3-1 in the top half.
Cleveland starter Zach McAllister was still looking strong, striking out Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava for two quick outs and had a 1-2 count on Ross, but he left the next pitch over the plate and Ross drove it all the way out of the park – clearing the Green Monster and sign above it with several feet to spare for his sixth homer of the season.
”I thought it was a decent pitch. Obviously it wasn’t in far enough as I would have liked,” said McAllister, recalled earlier Saturday from Triple-A Columbus. ”I just didn’t get it in enough.”
McAllister (1-1) finished with a career-high eight strikeouts in seven innings, allowing eight hits and not walking anybody.
But he didn’t get much offensive help as the Indians struggled against the left-handed Doubront.
”We couldn’t get any offense going against Doubront. He was pitching to both sides of the plate,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. ”He just neutralized all of our left-handed hitters and even our switch-hitters.”
The Indians didn’t fare any better against Boston’s relievers. Aceves got his seventh save with a perfect ninth, striking out Carlos Santana to end it.
Doubront was pulled before the seventh after throwing 109 pitches through six innings. He walked two and struck out five.
The Red Sox have won two straight, their first winning streak since a 5-0 stretch at the end of April.
Dustin Pedroia put Boston up 1-0 in the third with a double high off the wall in left field, driving in Mike Aviles after he led off the inning with a single. David Ortiz followed with a line drive to deep left-center and rumbled his way to second safely for an RBI double.
Nava led off the fourth with a single, went to third on Saltalamacchia’s ground-rule double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aviles. The fly ball to left wasn’t particularly deep and Shelley Duncan made a great throw to home, but Nava slid between catcher Lou Marsdon’s legs just ahead of the tag.
Marsdon led off the sixth with a double to right, went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored Cleveland’s first run on Jason Kipnis’ infield single. That was all Cleveland would score in its second straight loss.
Notes: McAllister was making just his second start of the season for the Indians. He was recalled earlier Saturday from Triple-A Columbus, less than a week after only other start – a win over the Chicago White Sox on May 7. … Marsdon ended an 0-for-13 slump with a leadoff double in the sixth. … Cleveland’s Travis Hafner was thrown out in the second while trying to stretch a single into a double. … The Indians placed RHP Josh Tomlin on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right wrist. The club filled his roster spot with McAllister. … The Red Sox last won two in a row during a five-game streak from April 24-28.